I first came across Take One Leave One through a post on a local community facebook group. The Newcastle scheme is organised and run by a two-person team of furloughed hospitality managers, Daniel Ormonde and Dale Nielson. Daniel is the Venue Manager of As You Like It (Apartment Group), Newcastle and Dale is a bar manager from the Ladhar Group.
Take One Leave One (TOLO) is based on a very simple idea. If you need a winter coat (or similar) you take one, if you have a coat to spare you leave one. It is described by the scheme’s founder, campaigner and investigative journalist Stefan Simanowitz as “love in action.”
Daniel explains that Take One Leave One is a community goodwill initiative, completely people powered and money-free.
Daniel and Dale were keen to find volunteer placements and they set up Newcastle’s TOLO at the end of January and they got going within a week with permission from the directors of Apartment Group.
Initially they had hoped for a “quick fix” to support those on the streets, where people could easily pick up something warm and waterproof. However, as Daniel explains, the requests were often very specific and there were offers of donations meaning that it was possible to set up offer a full clothes bank service utilising the space at As You Like It.
Daniel said: “We hope to provide support to absolutely anyone in need, from homeless to those feeling the pinch of the current financial crisis.
“We understand for many, updating their wardrobe doesn’t seem like a priority right now, but having weather appropriate clothing is a necessity, especially over the winter months. So we are here to provide that necessity completely freely“
Daniel talks about meeting those who are vulnerable and in need and seeing their appreciation. He finds this “both heartwarming and heartbreaking” and comments that often those who are the worst off are a combination of upbeat, appreciative and grateful. It is a humbling experience. The aim is to support freely and allow people to access help without social stigma.
TOLO, Newcastle has been going for four weeks and during that time there have been spin offs in both Sunderland and Durham as well as interest in other local areas. There has even been a TOLO started in Stoke-on-Trent after locals spotted the Sunderland TOLO on social media!
Networking with other charities
Daniel and Dale have managed to network with other charities in the region, and have so far provided support to St Vincent’s Cafe near Byker Bridge and Action Foundation and Care 4 Calais who both support refugees. Their formal wear donations go to Suitability who provide suits to those seeking employment.
Charities supporting charities continues to be a vital aspect of this experience and it ensures all donations we receive find an appropriate new home.
How can you help?
You can donate
- Clothing, blankets and sleeping bags
- Men’s clothing (especially winter coats/jackets and jogger bottoms)
- Men’s shoes/trainers (size 7 and up)
Equally importantly you can help to spread the word on social media.
You can also start your own TOLO in your area.
Other articles you may be interested in
- Child poverty: a matter of urgency
- A complete “curveball” and a “safe haven” in Live Theatre, Newcastle
- Vaccine nationalism or solidarity?
- It’s still a man’s world
- “Never again”
TOLO Newcastle is not looking for volunteers as it is kept deliberately small due to Covid-19 restrictions. If you do want to donate clothes you are requested to make sure that all items are cleaned first. They will then go on to clean and disinfect before leaving them for 72 hours to ensure any trace of Covid-19 has “died off”.
You can find TOLO Newcastle on Twitter and Instagram, @tolonewcastle
They operate the TOLO rails every Monday/Wednesday/Friday and Saturday between 10am-3pm from the front of As You Like It,Archibald Terrace NE2 1DB.
You can find TOLO Sunderland running from the closed music venue, Independent SR1, and the TOLO Durham rail from the Nike Store at Arnison Centre.
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